OK, southpaws, don't be offended, but the official term for a person who is left-handed is sinistromanual or sinistral ... and it's just what it sounds like. The word comes from the Latin word "sinister," which strictly means "left" but is now associated more with the word "unlucky" or just plain "bad." A 2015 article in Time magazine points out that lefties in the Middle Ages were at risk of being labeled witches, and even in the 20th century, left-handed children were retrained to use their right hands to avoid "feeble-mindedness," according to a 2011 article in the medical journal "The Lancet." A 2013 study published in the journal "Endeavor" found that just 1 percent of Chinese students admit to being left-hand dominant, because the trait is seen as such a negative stigma, even to this day.
So what's a leftie to do? Well, they could take comfort in the fact that huge numbers of famous people are also southpaws. This includes a surprising percentage of U.S. Presidents, Hollywood stars, musicians, sports legends and some of the smartest scientific and business minds who ever lived. Now who's feeble-minded?
Think you can identify some of the most famous lefties of all-time? Prove it by acing this quiz!
Born in Hawaii in 1961, Barack Obama became a successful attorney before serving as a U.S. Senator from Illinois. In 2008, he became the first African-American President in U.S. history. During his two terms, he repealed Don't Ask, Don't Tell, allowing openly gay service members in the military. He will also be remembered for his efforts at passing the Affordable Care Act to extend health coverage to a wider population.
Southpaw Bill Hates founded Microsoft with Paul Allen in 1975 and transformed it into the largest computer company in the world within a decade. By the '90s, he had become the world's richest man, a title he held through 2017. After largely retiring from Microsoft in 2000, Gates focused on charitable causes, such as eradicating malaria and other health crises around the globe.
Jimi Hendrix honed his skill strumming a broomstick and then using a ukulele he found in the trash. It wasn't until he was 15 that he got his first guitar ... a right-handed instrument he restrung so he could strum with his left hand. After headlining Woodstock in '69, Hendrix died of an overdose in 1970 at the age of 27.
Babe Ruth was a left-handed batter and pitcher who ranks among the best players to ever step foot on a diamond, even more than half a century after his death. He won seven World Series and set hitting records that wouldn't be broken for decades during his 20 seasons with the Red Sox and Yankees in the 1910s, 1920s and 1930s.
Oprah was a poor girl from the South who suffered a failed pregnancy as a teen, then went on to become a TV news anchor before her 20th birthday. She hosted "The Oprah Winfrey Show" from 1986 to 2011 and even launched her own network in 2008. On top of everything else, Winfrey managed to earn an Oscar nod for her role in "The Color Purple."
Mark Zuckerberg launched social-media behemoth Facebook from his Harvard dorm in 2004. By 2007, he was a billionaire at 23. And don't feel sorry that Mark never got his diploma because he dropped out to focus on Facebook; Harvard gave him an honorary degree in 2017.
Buzz Aldrin was a mechanical engineer from West Point who served as a fighter pilot in the Air Force and got a Doctor of Science degree from MIT. Oh, and he was also the second human to ever step foot on the moon, just a few minutes after Neil Armstrong took one small step on July 21, 1969.
Judy Garland was a bona fide child star in the 1930s and a lefty to boot. She starred as Dorothy in the 1939 classic "The Wizard of Oz" and played opposite Mickey Rooney in several Andy Hardy flicks. Garland hosted her own TV show in the 1960s and also won a Grammy for her album "Judy at Carnegie Hall."
Angelina got her big break with "Girl, Interrupted," which nabbed her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1999. She went on to play a tough treasure hunter in "Tomb Raider" and star opposite future hubby Brad Pitt in "Mr. and Mrs. Smith." She also found time to become mom to six kids.
Norma Jean changed her name to Marilyn Monroe when she hit Hollywood, starring in '50s films like "How to Marry a Millionaire" and "The Seven Year Itch." Fun fact: Hugh Hefner used nude pictures of Monroe that he purchased to launch the very first issue of Playboy in 1953.
Bonaparte may have been left-handed, but the rumors about his height are wrong; he was normal height or a bit taller for his time. After climbing to power during the French Revolution, Napoleon named himself Emperor of France in 1804 and hung on for 10 years before he was exiled.
An illness left Helen Keller blind and deaf at age 2, but the remarkable Anne Sullivan taught her to communicate well enough that Keller eventually graduated from Radcliffe. She went on to establish the ACLU and to meet a whopping 12 presidents, from Cleveland to Kennedy.
Sylvester Stallone was landing those left hooks a little harder than the right ones as the title character in the "Rocky" flicks. He also starred as a PSTD-plagued vet in the Rambo films, starting with "First Blood" in 1982.
Leonardo da Vinci lived from 1452 to 1519 and is best remembered today for works like "The Last Supper," "Mona Lisa" and the Vitruvian Man. Some historians suggest he worked left-handed but wasn't born that way. There's some evidence that he was right-handed as a youth but was forced to learn to work left-handed after damaging his dominant hand.
Marie Curie may have had to modify her lab instruments a bit to accommodate being left-handed, but that didn't stop her from earning two Nobel Prizes. The first came in 1903 for her work with radioactivity, while the second came in 1911 when she discovered polonium, which she named for her home country of Poland.
"The Simpsons" creator Matt Groening is a lefty, so it's no surprise he made Simpson neighbor Ned Flanders a southpaw as well. Sadly, Ned's time as owner of the Leftorium was tough thanks to competition from Leftopolis, which was located right next door.
David Robert Jones started off performing as Davy Jones, but he didn't want to be confused with a Monkee, so he changed his name to David Bowie. Eventually, this lefty became a revolutionary musical star, and he also took part in films like "The Man Who Fell to Earth" and "Labyrinth."
Lady Gaga wrote songs for Britney Spears and other pop acts before hitting it big with her debut album "The Fame." Hits like "Poker Face" and "Just Dance" dominated the airwaves for this left-handed superstar, who won an Oscar for her song "Shallow," written for the 2018 film "A Star is Born."
Richard Starkey became Ringo Starr when he took up with a little act called The Beatles in 1962. He was left-handed, but he played a right-handed drum setup on songs like "Help" and "A Hard Day's Night."
Prince William of Wales became the Duke of Cambridge when he married Kate Middleton in 2011. Left-handed like his father Prince Charles, William graduated from St. Andrew's in Scotland before spending time in the Royal Air Force in his 20s.
Left-hander Jerry Seinfeld was one of the biggest TV stars of the '90s thanks to the success of "Seinfeld." In 2007, the actor took a different direction with "A Bee Movie," then returned to his roots with the series "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee."
Julia Roberts had Richard Gere wrapped around her little finger ... on her left hand, of course ... in the 1990 film "Pretty Woman." She spent the rest of the decade starring in rom-coms like "Notting Hill" and "Runaway Bride," before taking a part in the "Ocean's" movies in the 2000s.
Bill Clinton was Governor of Arkansas before being elected as the 42nd U.S. President in 1993. This left-handed Commander in Chief had highs and lows during his two-terms, from a thriving economy to a scandal that led to his impeachment proceedings.
Lisa Kudrow played the quirky Phoebe, and her twin sister Ursula, on the 1990s series "Friends." While strumming her way through songs like "Smelly Cat" at Central Perk, Phoebe typically played an acoustic guitar, which Kudrow herself would have had to play with her dominant left-hand.
After losing 100 pounds, Richard Simmons became such a fitness fanatic that he started his own gym, Slimmons, in Los Angeles. He's kept the weight off for decades, helping countless others get fit while sporting his trademark tanks and Dolphin shorts as he sweated to Oldies hits.
Tom Cruise became a Hollywood Superstar in the 1980s thanks to "Risky Business" and "Top Gun," but some of his best films were still to come. The left-handed actor starred in both "Jerry McGuire" and "Mission: Impossible" in 1996 and has continued to land leading roles through the 2010s.
Mark Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri and later took a job driving riverboats down the Mighty Mississippi. He worked at a newspaper before writing and publishing beloved novels like "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" in 1876 and "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" in 1884.
Henry Ford started his auto company in 1903 and introduced the Model T in 1908. The southpaw was smart enough to pay workers enough to buy his cars and also to use an assembly line to produce a car every 24 seconds. By 1927, he had sold more than 15 million vehicles.
Lefty Albert Einstein was so smart that his last name became a synonym for genius. He developed his theory of relatively and the groundbreaking formula E=MC2. After marrying the only woman in his university physics classes, Mileva Maric, he used his prize money from winning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921 to divorce her and marry his second wife.
Celine Dion was an '80s pop star in Canada. One of 14 kids, she was just an infant when they toured as Dion's Family. A pair of 1990s albums featuring hits like "My Heart Will Go On" and "The Power of Love" made her an international superstar.
Ronald Reagan was a poor boy from Illinois who became a Hollywood actor, then went on to become Governor of California in 1967. He was the oldest President to ever take office when he was inaugurated in 1981 at the age of 69, until Donald Trump moved into the White House at the age of 70. Reagan and Trump are also the only divorcees to ever serve as Commander in Chief.
Steve Young spent 13 seasons with the 49'ers between 1987 and 1999. Despite playing as Joe Montana's backup, this lefty was able to shine, winning three Super Bowls and being named MVP at Super Bowl XXIX. He was only the second left-handed QB to ever win the big game, after Ken Stabler did so in 1975.
Wayne Gretzky has one of the most incredible records in the sport of hockey, and he did it all as a southpaw. During his 20 seasons in the NHL, Gretzky became the first player to ever score more than 200 points in a single season, then went on to do it a total of four times. His number 99 jersey was retired league-wide when he left the sport to honor his legacy.
Justin Bieber was a 'tween making his own videos of cover songs when he was discovered on YouTube. His 2009 album "My World" made him a teen idol, and he was one of the youngest people ever to debut at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. If you love this lefty, count yourself among his many Beliebers.
Whoopi Goldberg is among a select group of EGOTs, or entertainers who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. Goldberg got her big break in 1985 thanks to "The Color Purple," and she later picked up her Academy Award playing a psychic in "Ghost."
Winston Churchill was the Prime Minister of the U.K. during one of its darkest hours: the WWII years of 1940 through 1945. Today, this southpaw is often remembered for his iconic speeches, including "We shall fight on the beaches," "Blood, toil, tears and sweat," and "Their finest hour." If you've never heard of them, look up these quotes and prepare to be seriously impressed.
Born in the Czech Republic, Martina Navratilova defected to the U.S. early in her career. She won Wimbledon a record nine times between 1978 and 1990. One of her greatest victories may be in publicly announcing that she was gay in 1981, back when such a declaration wasn't nearly as well accepted as it would be a few decades later.
No, Michelangelo didn't lie on his back to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling, but he was in uncomfortable positions while working, and he did paint with his dominant left hand. This incredible artist is also remembered for a fresco known as "The Last Judgement," as well as the sculptures of David and Pieta.
Bob Dylan might just be the most well-known folk singer of all time. A lefty who plays his guitar right-handed, he was a pivotal figure in the 1960s music scene thanks to "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan," and he was awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016 for his contributions to songwriting.
Robert De Niro earned an Oscar for his work in "The Godfather: Part II" and later for his roll in the 1980 classic "Raging Bull." You might also recognize this iconic performer from films like "Taxi Driver" or "Cape Fear."